On Paper Wings

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Portland documentarian Ilana Sol’s beautiful film is about the only casualties that occurred in the continental US during WWII. In Bly, Oregon, in 1945, a young pastor and his pregnant wife took a group of children on a picnic in the woods--only to discover a strange balloon in the trees. Constructed of paper and sent into the airstream from Japan, the odd creation contained a bomb that exploded and killed the children and the young woman. Affecting interviews with four Japanese women who worked in the paper factory where they made thousands of balloon bombs during their school years are interwoven with interviews with Bly’s denizens, and friends and relatives of the deceased. On Paper Wings is a well-crafted story that perfectly builds to the point of misty-eyed reunion when the women travel to Bly 40 years after WWII on a mission of peace, bearing 1,000 origami cranes. You’d better bring a hanky.

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